by Reagan Williams
(Source: Pexels, RODNAE Productions)
"In honor of Memorial Day, we salute our fallen soldiers and all the courageous heroes and heroines who served in the line of duty for our freedom and the many liberties we have today. Thank you for your service to our country!" -Milkscope staff
Memorial Day has become the unofficial beginning of the summer season. People will hold cookouts, picnics, attend family gatherings and sporting events. Unfortunately, Memorial Day has lost some of its significance as an occasion for remembrance. Traditionally, the United States flag is at half staff from dawn to noon and people visit cemeteries and memorials for loved ones that have died during military service. Across America, volunteers will place flags at graves in national cemeteries. Originally, called Decoration Day, the day in 1868 was intended to honor Union soldiers that died during the American Civil War. Since 1971, Memorial Day has been observed officially on the last Monday in May in the U.S. The day signifies remembering millions of people that wore uniforms and gave their lives for this country. Despite this, a lot of people anticipate the three day weekend to start their summer with friends and family to kick back and relax.
(Source: Pexels, Brett Sayles)
COVID-19 has impacted people’s ability to travel and as more people become vaccinated, the world is opening for travel opportunities. According to AAA, 2020 saw the lowest number of people traveling since 2000. There was a record low of 23 million people traveling 50 miles or more from home. This year, more than ever, people are feeling the need to pack a bag, take a road trip or fly somewhere over the long weekend from May 27th through May 31st of this year. People are gaining confidence to travel as restrictions are easing in different parts of the country and around the world. The questions then become, where should you go, what is open and who can go where based upon the venue, city, state and country?
If you decide to travel to another country for the holiday weekend, here are some tropical options: Anguilla, Bahamas, and Barbados. These island getaways along with other places you might be interested in will have travel protocols related to COVID-19 outside of the normal ones people are used to. A person should decide whether they need to be vaccinated or not by following COVID-19 testing requirements before traveling and whether or not quarantine is vital upon arrival. Some countries like the Bahamas may require you to get a health visa and complete a health declaration that is valid for a specified number of days to enter that particular country. It can be difficult to navigate the travel process for a quick getaway, but there are countries that are easier than others. Conversely, there are countries that the travel industry does not recommend to venture at this time. It is imperative to check before you travel and seek resources such as Wendy Perrin, The "Travel Whisperer" to find updated information regarding if your destination choice is on the list. You can find travel tips, reviews and relevant COVID-19 travel information as things change throughout the world.
If you are not ready to leave the country this Memorial Day nor travel, you still need to know your respective state’s resources or where you are heading to. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with quarantine rules, opening plans and overall guidance for travelers. Each state has this information to plan a COVD-19 era trip. If you take a road trip over the long weekend, there are simple things you can do to ensure your safety. For example, when you make a rest stop for gas and food, drive a few miles further to find a non-chain and family run restaurant(s) that is less crowded with outdoor seating options. Another tip is to pack a cooler for snacks and drinks while you’re traveling in the car or get curbside or takeout from a local eatery by phone once you arrive at your destination. According to AAA, there will be an estimated 37 million people traveling this upcoming Memorial Day. You want to make things planned and as safe as possible from ordering tickets ahead of time for venues, finding a hotel with a private entrance and checking the infection rate of each state if you are renting a house over the long weekend. Finally, if you go away or stay local do not forget there are still ways to remember those that served our country through something as simple as a moment of silence, volunteering or holding a virtual vigil this Memorial Day for veterans from all wars.